Alder, Choteau ranchers win MFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Awards

MISSOULA, Montana—Mark Boyd, a young rancher from Alder, beat three other competitors to win the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. He received the keys to a Polaris Ranger® and is eligible to compete in the national competition, which will be held in Puerto Rico during the American Farm Bureau Convention in January. The three other participants were Morgan Kuntz from Dillon, Gwynn Simeniuk from Glasgow and Nick Courville from Charlo. The final four competition of the discussion meeting took place on November 15 during the 103rd annual meeting of the Montana Farm Bureau.

The discussion meeting, open to Farm Bureau members ages 18 to 35, is designed to simulate a committee meeting where ideas are discussed and solutions developed. The question for the final round: How can Farm Bureau effectively support and equip young farmers and ranchers to successfully meet economic and infrastructural challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable farms and ranches across the country?

During the discussion, Boyd came up with the idea of ​​finding mentors to help a young farmer or rancher manage risk, including navigating available programs and loans to help start or expand his business. “Obviously, from an economic standpoint, timing is everything for young people trying to start a farm or ranch or even planning to continue a ranch tradition,” Boyd said.

The Southwest Counties Farm Bureau member said he was drawn to the discussion meeting because there aren’t as many opportunities to compete after college. “Participating in the discussion meeting forces you to research, practice, and engage in friendly competition,” Boyd said.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the participating Montana Polaris dealers, the Montana Farm Bureau and everyone who attended for making the discussion meeting possible,” said Boyd. “I look forward to representing Montana at the national competition.”

Choteau ranchers Ben and Karli Johnson, who own Sevens Livestock, won the MFBF YF&R Achievement Award. Achievement Award nominees are evaluated on a combination of farm growth and farm financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership, and leadership outside of the Farm Bureau.

Johnson said she and her husband chose to attend the award because they enjoy conducting high-level, strategic business conversations; the Achievement Award offered the format for this on a national level.

“The judges will look at how your strategic business plan has impacted your business growth and how you combine that with leadership in your county farm bureau and community,” Johnson said. She and Ben will travel to Puerto Rico to compete against other State Farm Bureau winners at the national achievement award.

“The in-person competition at the national level provides an excellent opportunity to network and meet other young producers with similar challenges,” said the Front Range County Farm Bureau member.

The 103rd Annual Montana Farm Bureau Convention will be held November 14-17 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.

Thank you to these Polaris dealers for supporting the MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers: Gallatin Recreation, Bozeman; Helena Bicycle Center, Helena; Yellowstone-Polaris, Billings; Beaverhead Motorsports, Dillon; Riverside Marine & Cycle, Miles City; Redline Sports, Inc., Butte; Lewistown Honda & Polaris, Lewistown; Sports City Cyclery, Great Falls, Russell Motorsports, Missoula, Kurt’s Polaris, Seeley Lake and Bliss Cycle, Conrad. Check out these merchants to say thank you for supporting the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers.

Find out more about MFBF at www.mfbf.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @mtfarmbureau.

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Photo: Winner of Montana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet Mark Boyd with his new Polaris Ranger.

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